Sunday, March 08, 2015


HOW EXCRUCIATING HUMILIATING it must have been for the woman caught in the act of adultery. (John 8:1-11)  To be dragged from the act into the Temple courts and thrown at the feet of Jesus by the Pharisees who were seeking to catch Jesus in His words.

There is nothing quite like getting caught in the act.  It is humiliating and worse, shameful. There is no hiding, and for this woman all those gathered in the presence of the Messiah were now witnesses to her pain and her shame. Given the crowd assembled, I am sure they did their best to burn that shame deep into her soul through their steady guilt-enhancing gaze.

Notice what the Master does. He bends down and writes in the dirt of the Temple floor. Many have speculated what he wrote. Some think it was the sins of the Pharisees, some think He was taking time to think, or to blow off some steam before He let the Pharisees have it!

Jesus’ response is one of grace, even to the Pharisees who didn't care two-hoots for the woman or for Jesus. They just wanted both of them caught and done away with. Yet, Jesus’ statement, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone,” silences the accusers and cuts through the condemning gazes and soon all leave, acknowledging in the process their own sin and guilt.

So, just what did Jesus write in the dirt? We’ll never know, but one thing in certain, in His bending down He drew close to the woman, close enough to possibly whisper, “It will be okay.” Once everyone had left, Jesus, through His depth of compassion, sets the woman free from condemnation. But He also challenges her to not miss this gift of grace, and to go and sin no more.

As I contemplate the story I become thankful, for the Lord’s finger in the dirt patience that allows for grace to be given and for grace to be received.  

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